Friday, October 4, 2019

Cream Doesn’t Float

tldr: Skip down to the 30 second video offering the only smart explanation I've seen as to what Trump's up to with this frothy ditzy Biden conspiracy thing.

To understand why you hadn't previously heard this evident truth - and why lots of dumber takes continue to run rampant - read from the top.

My central message (and dilemma) in my brief existence on this planet has been a simple one: cream doesn't float.

Nearly everyone has the daft idea that society has systems in place to elevate greatness and smart solutions and truth. If the little Italian restaurant down the block from my office were anything special, I'd have heard about it. If someone had developed a brilliant solution to an intractable problem, we'd seize upon it. If anyone ever figured It all out, humanity would take notice and level up.

Nope. Your neighbor, the would-be-novelist, will almost surely not be the toast of the literary town even if his output is unbridled genius. And the answers to important questions may be blowing in the wind, but they will likely not be noticed (and, if they were, they'd most likely be misunderstood and/or undervalued). Fantastic eateries serve superb food without the slightest interest from the wider world. Humanity isn't underperforming, it just has no effective way to recognize and elevate the good stuff.

It's as clear as day to me. Consider the fact that famous food, music, movies, etc., are often shitty (i.e. non-greatness elevates) and that worthy efforts often fail from lack of interest (i.e. greatness fails to elevate). Crap wins and treasure loses. We see these results time and again, right before our eyes, and yet we still imagine that cream rises.

I built a web site devoted to the observation that unheralded culinary greatness hangs heavy on the branches, awaiting discovery and admiration. Treasure hunters were recruited and energized, and thousands of little-known treasures were cataloged and celebrated. Yet the general public persists in the misperception that if something were great, we'd have heard about it.

Food writer Jonathan Gold complained bitterly about how a more famous writer once swept into East LA for an afternoon to determine "the best taco in East LA". The nabe's huge enough to make this an absurd proposition, but the guy anointed some essentially random taco, while Gold watched with endless contempt, having spent years deeply cataloging the area (followup: years later, Gold got himself a prominent writing gig and swept into Jackson Heights - which I'd spent years deeply cataloging - for a day to anoint some random Colombian empanada the best in the nabe).

The journalists, gatekeepers and tastemakers are terrific at seeming authoritative, but they're lazy shleps, every one of them. They miss great stuff, and undervalue, or misunderstand, what they do bump into. And this holds true for every single element in the human experience. Whatever the realm, someone may know the answer, but society is not a funnel for amplifying and disseminating truth. That's just not how it works. The truth that's pushed front-and-center inevitably hinges on the pushing rather than the truthing. Cream doesn't simply float.

So anyway, here's the lonely voice of pundit Eugene Robinson explaining what Trump's up to with this Joe Biden conspiracy theory no pro-Trumper has even attempted to try to sensibly explain (here's a smart explanation of the utter stupidity from an anti-Trumper).

It didn't get picked up. Robinson's observation hasn't been hoisted into the wider conversation - in fact, the smart host and guests on that show betrayed no particular interest (they had their own less-smart takes to sell). But it's the first and only smart take I've seen on the matter.

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